At first she bought her own little house in the city and managed that for a year and a half. Then we moved her up a step to an independent living facility. They provided meals and housekeeping for a nice little apartment as long as she could get back and forth to the dining room and take care of all her other needs. And ultimately, we had to go the assisted living route. Gainesville has a couple of very nice ones and she was very happy there until her death last year at the age of 91.
One thing I noticed, and it was not just those last few years. No matter where she lived, she managed to find the friendless, the outcasts, the ones who were "different" in some way that meant everyone else ignored or even shunned them, and she befriended them. (Even in churches, mind you.) She looked after them. She defended them. She made sure they had someone to sit by at meals, talk to during the day, and share their troubles with. She could tell me more details about the lives of more people than I thought she even knew within two weeks of moving somewhere, and because we were now able to see her three or four times a week, this really became noticeable.
My mother was a good woman, generous with her time and her talents, given to hospitality, always feeding visitors, college students, and friends. I was never embarrassed to ask someone from church to spend Sunday afternoon with me, or even a whole weekend. I knew the food would be plenteous and delicious, and the welcome warm. If someone needed a home for a wedding or baby shower, she offered, even making and decorating the cake which was always elaborate and creative. She sewed for people, sometimes just mending, but other times the whole outfit. Whenever she went shopping, if something caught her eye, it was seldom for herself. It was always that person or this person "would love that," and she picked it up, usually for no reason at all except she saw it and thought of them. But once I began to really notice this habit of hers to gravitate to the social misfits, I thought to myself, "This is what it really means to be Christlike."
What did Isaiah say about the Messiah? The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified. (Isa 61:1-3)
And whom did Jesus seek out? Not the wealthy, not the powerful, not the popular, not the "in-crowd," but a bunch of poor, "unlearned" fishermen, the hated publicans, the sinners who lived on the edge of a society that was happy to use and then discard them, a Samaritan woman who herself was an outcast among outcasts, those with demons, those with illnesses which were considered signs of sin. He gave them a champion who saw them and their pain rather than leaders who considered them beneath their notice. He fulfilled his mission "...to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, " (Luke 4:18) and "A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. " (Matt 12:20).
Today, examine your heart. Who do you gravitate toward? Who do you run to and why? Our Lord actively looked for the outsiders just as we should search for the ones who come in among us and leave quietly because they are so sure no one even cares if they are there at all. No one should come in among the people of God and feel like that. What will you do about it today?
And Jesus perceiving it withdrew from thence: and many followed him; and he healed them all, and charged them that they should not make him known: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying, Behold, my servant whom I have chosen; My beloved in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my Spirit upon him, And he shall declare judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry aloud; Neither shall any one hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, And smoking flax shall he not quench, Till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall the Gentiles hope (Matt 12:15-21).